Friday, September 28, 2012

A George Oppen Poem (II)


Astrolabes and lexicons
Once in the great houses

A poor lobsterman

Met by chance
On Swan's Island

Where he was born
We saw the old farmhouse

Propped and leaning on its hilltop
On that island
Where the ferry runs

A poor lobsterman

His teeth were bad

He drove us over that island
In an old car

A well-spoken man

Hardly real
As he knew in those rough fields

Lobster pots and their gear
Smelling of salts

The rocks outlived the classicists
The rocks and the lobstermen's huts

And the sights of the island
The ledges in the rough sea seen from the road

And the harbor
And the post office

Difficult to know what one means
to be serious and to know what one means

An island
Has a public quality

His wife in the front seat

In a soft dress
Such as poor women wear

She took it that we came
I don't know how to say, she said

Not for anything we did, she said,
Mildly, 'from God'. She said

What I like more than anything
Is to visit other islands...


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

POEM: "Ledge Dark Somewhere"

Ledge Dark Somewhere
                                       I.M. Charles Bukowski

Maximum power is a river
it flows past wild rocks
something hits my ass   mon dieu

the Chauvet cave paintings
“celebrate the stupidity
of our endurance”   only wait

qu’est-ce que c’est   delinquencies
satisfactions have been reckoned
they look pretty damn small

consider the initiation of art
the Late Stone Age in France
goddamn there were rhinos

far back from the light
rockfall sealed the cave
careful   bear tracks   framed

si ├ža se peut   not my business
old wines stretch my brain
cat on the sofa   watermelons   summer

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Alan Shapiro Poem



I lay back on the carpeted bottom step
Of the stairwell that like a well extended
Darkly up to the window near the ceiling,

Up where the Chinaman under the wide-brimmed hat
That hid his face pulled the flowerpot that held
No flower across the sill no one could reach.

There was a television on somewhere
Above me, and the doomsday clock was ticking,
Someone was saying. Someone was saying something

About a blockade and a quarantine,
Who would blink first, lose face, or push the button.
A fat man banged a shoe against a desk.

The Chinaman however didn’t care.
Pulling his flowerpot of absent flowers,
He was content to be a clot of darkness

Brightening the moment late sun caught the glass—
The hat tip first, and then the hat, the arms,
The rickshaw of the flowerpot he pulled.

And everywhere within the light’s slow fall
Infinities of particles were falling
Into the flowerpot they’d never fill.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Mark Doty Poem

A Green Crab's Shell

Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,

something retrieved
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly

muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like–

though evidence
suggests eight
complexly folded

scuttling works
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws'

gesture of menace
and power. A gull's
gobbled the center,

leaving this chamber
–size of a demitasse–
open to reveal

a shocking, Giotto blue.
Though it smells
of seaweed and ruin,

this little traveling case
comes with such lavish lining!
Imagine breathing

surrounded by
the brilliant rinse
of summer's firmament.

What color is
the underside of skin?
Not so bad, to die,

if we could be opened
into this–
if the smallest chambers

of ourselves,
revealed some sky.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Kris Hemensley Poem

"to come away with Hesiod"

to come away with Hesiod
and leave the rock as though to rocks
the tree to trees and dwell on other things

imagine the injunction
to leave the mint to its own devices
amongst the dust & stones in the shadow
of rocks or tree-roots hard as rocks

imagine poems like tended mint
or poems like wildest mint which survives
the oblivion of feckless gardeners
until plucked by knowing fingers
after the fiercer heat’s abated

imagine poems left to their own devices
as poets gorge on air & airy thoughts
& figures — the idea cuts me
to the bone of a sobriety earned
at the expense of the airiness Hesiod
was commissioned to name

but who wouldnt seize a staff of bay
or ash or gum and trade common or
garden cough for lungsfull of song
taking the world in one’s stride
careering towards heaven?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

POEM: "La Magia"

La Magia

How can formulas be literature?
I love that. I laugh and give myself up
To the extra breath, side-step the beggar
Who is quite interested in my loot.

I’m watching you while something else
Is spreading like an eager plant
When the conditions are right.
The moon is bright. Maybe no pines.

Seeing all the forms of things
How they change before your eyes
Wait a bit for the lights and the darkness.
You watch the F1. The directions are on TV.

Take this poem. Stop and look awhile.
It has only my wallet on its mind
Sitting in an Italian restaurant
Walking down a street back home.

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Monday, September 3, 2012

POEM: "The Atoms Of Books"

The Atoms of Books

3. If reader wants to keep book and buy it:
 i) Supply name of book store.
 ii) The library cannot sell books to individuals. The books are the  property of the Library Board.
4. If reader says he pays taxes and the book belongs to him:
 i) State that
 the Public Libraries Act makes books property of the Library Board.

                Chinook Regional Library Procedures Manual (2007)

Running up the path to the treasure house
I always maxed out the borrowing limit

The craters of the moon, insects, stories
Of people who lived differently than me

Geography and history, Greek myths
Astronomy and atoms, the pyramids

Tycho Brahe, his noses, magic moose
Telescopes and heliocentrics of sad

The blue-stocking's reprimand
This is not appropriate for your age

Once I even cried to show her that it was
And a guy said, Jesus give the kid his book!

Pliny the Elder, Pompeii, Alexandria
The Cairo Geniza, my forefathers, herself

On a carved page suddenly discovered
Where silence is no longer special virtue

Now books cannot sit squarely upon a shelf
With furred pages, the silverfish and worms

Growing older & more important in the shade
Happily replenishing the nutrition of words.

© 2012 Rob Schackne